EDINBURGH, Texas — An independent citizen journalist who unearths information about the darker side of Hidalgo County politics says it’s time for a local party leader to step down.
Josh D. Mariscal says that based on text and phone interactions he’s had with Hidalgo County Democratic Party Chairman Patrick Eronini, it’s clear Eronini is trying, at best, to orchestrate a campaign of libel in the Hidalgo County judge’s race, and at worst, trying to select the poll workers who will influence voters to change their vote.
In a phone conversation recorded by Mariscal, Eronini said, “She’s a crackhead, from what I heard.” He was referring to Hidalgo County judge candidate Tania Ramirez. In another phone conversation with Mariscal, Eronini claimed Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez was “incompetent” and “arrogant” and “belongs to a nursing home.”
However, Norma Ramirez, another candidate for Hidalgo County judge, is well qualified, Eronini argued. Asked about Norma Ramirez’s candidacy by Mariscal, Eronini replied, “Well, she has the background. As an entrepreneur, she creates jobs. She has the temper. She is competent.
Going back to Tania Ramirez and Judge Cortez, Eronini told Mariscal, “For the sake of this county, we can’t let these people in.”
These remarks can be found on a video story that Mariscal posted on his YouTube channel. He calls his channel NEC, which is short for Necessary. A sin News necessary for the RGV.
the Guardian of the Rio Grande texted Eronini asking if he wanted to comment on Mariscal’s reporting. He did not answer.
In his YouTube story video, Mariscal plays an audio file of a conversation Eronini has with a potential election worker. Mariscal said he received the audio file from one of his contacts.
In the clip, Eronini told the presidential candidate, “You are from Hidalgo. Why don’t you work (in a polling station) in Hidalgo? Why do you want to work at Donna?
It seems that a man is asking for a polling station on behalf of a woman politician.
“It is better for her to work in Hidalgo where she knows the people. If they don’t know you, they won’t listen to you,” Eronini told the man.
“It is better for her to work in Hidalgo where she knows people. You know what I’m saying?”
Eronini continued: “It’s easier for you to get their vote (in Hidalgo). In Donna, you don’t know people. The only people you can change their minds about are people you know. If you don’t know people, they won’t listen to you.
Mariscal urged Tania Ramirez and Judge Cortez to report Eronini to the Texas Democratic Party.
“I can say that in the few interactions I’ve had, I don’t think Patrick is someone who should be involved in politics,” Mariscal said.
“He doesn’t deserve to serve the public. And he certainly doesn’t deserve to be the leader of the Hidalgo County Democratic Party right now.
About Josh Mariscal
Mariscal was born and raised in Edinburgh, Texas. He said he got involved in local politics because he didn’t like the way Hidalgo County was handling the COVID-18 pandemic.
“That’s what pushed me into journalism, to really look at these professionals and hold them accountable for their reactions to the pandemic,” Mariscal told the Guardian of the Rio Grande.
Asked about his position on the political spectrum, Mariscal replied: “I am progressive. Now, here in Hidalgo County, I can’t say I’m a Democrat because it’s hard for me to tell when I see so much wrong with the local party.
Mariscal believes Eronini contacted him because of his knowledge of the local political scene.
“I’m a bit high profile in Edinburgh because I know all these politicians. He (Eronini) saw me around. I think he neglected my integrity because there are all these anonymous accounts that will gladly post things the way he wanted me to post them. I think he just thought I would be another like that and do his job for him.
Mariscal said Eronini first sought him out via Facebook Messenger earlier this year with text simply saying “Hello”. To which Mariscal replied: “Who are you?” Eronini then said, “I was told to send you these documents.
Mariscal said he liked the idea of doing a negative article on Cortez.
“I didn’t like the way Judge Cortez handled the pandemic, so I always had a problem with Judge Cortez. But, when I found out that this election was going to be stolen from him, I intervened and, although I don’t like the man, on principle, I didn’t want him to lose because he had made himself steal. Even though I don’t like the guy, I did what was right,” Mariscal told the Guardian of the Rio Grande.
Mariscal said the “more vehement” attacks were aimed at Tania Ramirez. He said he received a video of her from Eronini via Facebook Messenger. He released it on his YouTube channel as proof of his existence, but released it very quickly, so viewers couldn’t see or hear the smears.
Asked where the videos of Tania Ramirez and Cortez came from, Eronini wrote, “The last one (on Cortez) was posted on Facebook and the other (on Tania Ramirez) was on a thumb drive left at my desk.”
When asked if Eronini ever offered him money to write biased stories against Tania Ramirez or Judge Cortez, Mariscal replied, “No, he didn’t offer me money. He made me feel like he was doing me a favor. But in reality he was trying to use me as a misinformation mule to just broadcast to my audience. Since I have some credibility, that would give some credibility to this story.
In his video, Mariscal makes a plea to Eronini. “It’s time for you to quit,” he said. And he issues a warning to voters of the Democratic Party in Hidalgo County. “It will not be a fair election.”
Editor’s Note: We’ll post Patrick Eronini’s response to Josh Mariscal’s video story on YouTube as soon as it’s available.
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